Debt Collection

Our expert team includes 3 Accredited Specialists in Commercial Litigation, making us one of the most recognised Debt Recovery law firms in New South Wales.

Your Accounts Officers have better things to do than send ineffective reminders and chase debtors on the phone. Get serious and get paid!

Our expert Debt Collection & Commercial Litigation Lawyers have extensive experience with the recovery of both commercial and personal related debts and implementation of solutions for best practice credit and debtor management to assist businesses to avoid bad debtors in future.

How We Help

We have some of the best debt collection lawyers in New South Wales. Our team is focused on getting results and are responsible for pioneering our popular Best First Step Debt Collection service.

We know what works. Our written and phone demands are skilfully combined to achieve optimal outcomes for clients and avoid the need for Court proceedings, wherever possible.

If a debt is disputed, our expert Commercial Litigation Lawyers are more than equipped to deal with it and to give you the practical and commercial advice you need to confidently decide whether any compromise or settlement should be negotiated.

Debt Collection Services

Our Debt Recovery Solicitors can assist you with all stages of the debt recovery process including:
  • Debt Recovery

  • Dispute Resolution

  • Payment Agreements

  • Enforcement of Judgment Debts

  • Credit Management & Debtor Management

Debt Recovery

We have an excellent success rate for recovering debts and negotiating favourable outcomes for our clients.

Our debt recovery tools and techniques and have been developed and proven by our Accredited Specialists in Commercial Litigation and include:

  • early evaluation of the debt and the most effective recovery strategies including; identification of securities or personal guarantees under existing contracts, the ability to utilise Security of Payment Laws, consideration of debtors’ likely financial position and ability to pay, and consideration of enforcement options if a future Judgment is obtained,
  • drafting effective standard and detailed letters of demand,
  • timely phone demands and early dispute identification,
  • liaising and negotiating with debtors in relation to payments, Payment Agreements and Settlement Deeds,
  • commencing Court proceedings (drafting Statements of Claim), where necessary,
  • preparation, filing and service of Statements of Claim,
  • applications for Default Judgments or negotiating Consent Orders with or without Instalment Orders,
  • acting in relation to defended Court proceedings, and
  • enforcement of Judgment debts.
Dispute Resolution

If the debt is genuinely disputed, the best outcome is often a commercial compromise.

This means that whilst you might not receive the full amount of the debt you will avoid some of the costs, delays and headaches that can be associated with defended Court proceedings.

A negotiated compromise is typically recorded in Settlement Deed which can be used to create additional security for payment (personal guarantees and/or

charges over land or other properties) and rights to recover legal and collection costs if payment is not made in accordance with the Deed and further recovery action is required.

Our experienced Lawyers can:

  • advise you in relation to the merits of any disputes,
  • provide timely and practical advice to help you resolve dispute, and
  • draft appropriate Settlement Deeds to record the terms of any compromise and final releases in relation to matters in dispute.
Payment Agreements

If a debtor is genuinely unable to pay a debt in full, in most cases it is preferrable to negotiate a reasonably payment arrangement and receive payments voluntarily than to proceed with Court proceedings and be left trying to enforce a Judgment against a debtor who has no assets.

If a debtor asks for more time to pay, we always recommend that our clients get something in return. This can be achieved through a Payment Agreement.

Payment Agreements record the terms of the payment arrangement but can also be used to improve a creditor’s legal position by creating:

  • an acknowledgment of the debt and release of any potential cross claims,
  • security for payment, including third party guarantees and charges over real property and personal property,
  • a right recover interest at an appropriate commercial rate,
  • a right to recover legal and debt collection costs if the payment arrangement is not honoured and further recovery action is needed.

When a debt is subject to a Payment Agreement the chances of not recovering payment in full or incidental costs is vastly reduced.

Payment Agreements are particularly useful where a creditor does not already have existing contractual rights in relation to the above matters.

Enforcement of Judgment Debts

In most cases we will have considered enforcement options and determined an enforcement strategy in relation to a Judgment debt when initially instructed to act.

The enforcement options available for the enforcement of Judgment debts include:

  • Examination Notices, Examination Orders and examination of debtors’ financial positions,
  • Garnishee Orders in relation to Bank Accounts and third party debts owing to the debtor,
  • Garnishee Orders in relation to Wages,
  • Writs for the Levy of Property,
  • Registration of Writs over Land,
  • Orders for the sale of Land,
  • Serving Bankruptcy Notices and Bankrupting individuals,
  • Serving Creditors’ Statutory Demands and winding up companies in liquidation.

We can also assist with the registration and enforcement of interstate and foreign Judgments.

Credit Management & Debtor Management

The best debt collection strategy is to avoid bad debts and disputes wherever possible.

Businesses can reduce instances of bad debtors and disputes, and thereby improve cash flow and profitability, by:

  • developing and training staff to following appropriate Credit Management and Debtor Management procedures, and
  • making effective everyday contracts with customers utilsing standard form contract documents including Quotation Forms, Purchase Order Forms, Credit Applications, Contract Variation Forms and customised Terms & Conditions of Trade prepared by our experienced Commercial Lawyers.

Our Commercial & Debt Collection team can assist with:

  • the preparation of standard form contract documents,
  • the preparation of Credit Management & Debtor Management procedures,
  • initial and ongoing training and assistance for staff on how to use them, and
  • registration of securities including security interests over personal property on the PPSR and Caveats over real property.

See here for more information about our Business Contracts Package including customised Terms & Conditions of Trade.

Best First Step Debt Collection

The Smarter Approach to Debt Collection

Best First Step Debt Collection

Our Legal Letters of Demand and Solicitor Phone Demands get results fast. With Best First Step Debt Collection you can improve cash flow and reduce your debt collection spend.

$220 INC GST

When debtors are struggling with their own cash flow, they will usually prioritise creditors based who appears to be their biggest threat and pay those creditors before others.

Successful collection in these circumstances is often highly competitive and getting debtors to take you seriously and put you at the top of their payments list is the aim of the game.

Our Best First Step Debt Collection service is designed to do just that.

Benefits of Best First Step Debt Collection

In most cases our Best First Step Debt Collection approach will result in one of the following outcomes within 14 days:

  • Payment to you in full (inclusive of any debt collection costs you are entitled to recover under your existing contracts),
  • Negotiation of a suitable payment arrangement (or Payment Agreement) including payment of an upfront lump sum or initial instalment, or
  • Discovery of a genuine dispute, negotiation of an appropriate compromise or Settlement Deed and payment of a proper amount.

In these instances, not only do you get paid, there is also a significant cost saving for your business for fees that would otherwise have been payable to a Debt Collection Agency for their commission and legal costs.

What is Best First Step Debt Collection

Our Best First Step Debt Collection service includes:

  • Initial evaluation of your right to recover payment of the debt including your rights against any guarantor, security for payment and right recover legal and debt collection costs,
  • Preparation and issue of a legal letter of demand by post and email demanding payment within 7 days and specifically referencing the additional Court costs and Solicitors’ fees that will be claimed if the demand is ignored and it becomes necessary to commence recovery proceedings through the Courts, and
  • A strategic Phone Demand prior to the expiration of the 7 day demand period.

We offer all this for fixed fee of only $220 (incl. GST).

Why are Phone Demands so important?

Phone Demands are an important tool overlooked by most debt recovery lawyers and ineffectively employed by many debt collection agencies.

Phone Demands within the 7 day demand period demonstrate to your debtor that we mean business and that the imminent commencement of Court proceedings (with the incidental expense falling on the debtor) is a very real threat.

The purpose of a timely Phone Demand is to:

  • Confirm the debtor’s receipt of the letter of demand,
  • Take immediate payment of the debt, where possible, or to negotiate payment in full or a suitable payment arrangement, and
  • Identify whether any dispute exists at the earliest possible stage.

When a Phone Demand is not made and a debtor ignores a letter of demand, most debt recovery lawyers and debt collection agencies will recommend the immediate commencement of Court proceedings. This involves legal fees for preparation of a Statement of Claim, Court filing fees and process serving fees.

The time and costs associated with commencing Court proceedings can in many cases be avoided by a simple and timely Phone Demand. Phone Demands will generally also result in a debtor making voluntary payment(s) which means that further costs and delays of obtaining and enforcing a Judgment can be avoided.

Additionally, if Court proceedings are commenced and the debtor files a Defence or Cross Claim in relation to a dispute that would have been easily discovered by a Phone Demand, in many instances (particularly in relation to claims in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court < $20,000) creditors will find themselves wondering how the dispute was not discovered earlier and what they can do to minimise their legal costs of the defended Court proceedings.

Superior to engaging a Debt Collection Agency

If a debt is disputed our experienced Solicitors will be able to promptly advise you in relation to the dispute and how to resolve it.

Apart from our collectors being qualified and experienced Solicitors, we offer Best First Step Debt Collection for a fixed fee of only $220 (incl. GST). When we collect that’s all you pay, and if your contract already entitled you to recover legal costs we will claim our costs in our letter of demand.

Whilst many debt collection agencies offer a no-collect no-commission service, their commissions usually range from 20% to 35% (plus GST). If they don’t get a result and recommend you instruct them to engage their Solicitors to commence Court proceedings, you will need to pay legal costs in addition to their commission.

Best First Step v Collection Agency - Comparison 1

Even if it were assumed that our Best First Step Debt Collection service got the same 14 day result as a collection agency, as set out below, your business would save $4,800 (excl. GST) based on first step recovery action being taken for say 10 debts of $3,000 each.

Best First Step Collection Agency
Total debts to be collected (10 x $3,000) $30,000 $30,000
Fee per initial recovery action (excl. GST) $200 $0
Initial collection action result (say 70%) $21,000 $21,000
Commission on collection 0% Say 30%
Total Fees payable (excl. GST) $2,000 $6,300
Additional $ in your bank $4,300 $0
Best First Step v Collection Agency - Comparison 2

Assuming again the same collection result but this time in relation initial recovery action for 5 debts of $5,000 each with only 3 collections, your business would save $3,750 (excl. GST).

Best First Step Collection Agency
Total debts to be collected (5 x $5,000) $25,000 $25,000
Fee per initial recovery action (excl. GST) $200 $0
Initial collection action result (say 60%) $15,000 $15,000
Commission on collection 0% Say 30%
Total Fees payable (excl. GST) $1,000 $4,500
Additional $ in your bank $3,500 $0


The actual saving is likely greater still if a Debt Collection Agency has encouraged you to commence Court proceedings and incur legal costs that could have been avoided by a strategic Phone Demand.

Security of Payment Guide

Get Paid. When it matters most. The essential tool for every business owner in the building and construction industry.

Guide to Making Effective Business Contracts – Contractors

Making effective everyday contracts is simply a must for contractors and suppliers.

Guide to Making Effective Business Contracts – Professional Services

Standard form contract solutions reduce risks of disputes and bad debtors and empower businesses.

Avoiding disputes and bad debtors simply makes cents.

Standard Form Business Contract Solutions

Our standard form Business Contract Solution is a tailored suit of easy-to-use legal documents that will help you make effective everyday contracts incorporating customised Terms & Conditions of Trade.

Fixed Price

Business Contract Solutions

Our standard form Business Contract Solution is a tailored suit of easy-to-use legal documents that will help you make effective everyday contracts incorporating customised Terms & Conditions of Trade.

Step 1 of 2

Step 1

Nature of Business
Check the box(es) corresponding to the goods or services the business provides.
eg Electrical services Contractor, Accountant
Describe each essential activity of the business and each means by which the business generates income.

A brilliant result from a professional Legal Firm.

“We had a debt needed recovered and after trying 2 law firms with no success, we found Roberts Crosbie Mortensen. We had our debt paid in full after the first action they took for us. The communication was brilliant and all the staff friendly and helpful. “

Rod Burgess

I would not hesitate to recommend Roberts Crosbie Mortensen Lawyers.

“They are professional, provide excellent attention to detail and strive to gain the best results for their clients.”

Mark Humphries
Sunbow Roofing

Your debt recovery service has helped our company tremendously.

“Most of our bad debtors responded to their letter of demand straight away. The Roberts Crosbie Mortensen Lawyers team have ensured we are kept up to date on all our cases and also made sure we understood all of the legal processes. I have found Roberts Crosbie Mortensen Lawyers to be very professional and friendly and have no hesitation in recommending Roberts Crosbie Mortensen Lawyers to anyone who needs legal advice.”

Alison Childs
Kindy Patch

Roberts Crosbie Mortensen’s debt collection service has helped our debt collection process enormously.

“It is no longer an onerous task to keep track of bad debtors, when the customer receives the letter, so far, they have paid within the two-week time frame.”

Christine Ducker
Tozer Air Conditioning

Excellent experience. I would highly recommend.

“Very professional handing of a complex and technical multi-layered legal matter, with a favorable outcome.”

Jim Limberis
Netseek Pty Limited

Highly recommend Sam Roberts and his team – Thank you.

“I used the Best First Step Debt Collection service again recently and predominantly dealt with Isabella. Once more, outstanding service and we managed to get a result that meant no further time (and money) consuming dealings with the person we were chasing for payment.”

Steve Collins
More Accredited Specialists in Commercial Litigation than 99% of all law firms in NSW.

Our Debt Recovery Lawyers

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you be chased for a debt in New South Wales?

In New South Wales, the limitation period for debts is six years from when either:

  1. The debt became due and payable; or
  2. The last date a payment was made towards the debt; or
  3. The date the debtor acknowledged in writing that they owed the debt.

whichever is the latest.


Can a debt collector keep chasing me if the debt is disputed?

The “Debt collection guideline for collectors & creditors” published jointly by ASIC and the ACCC provides that if a debt collector is notified that liability for a debt is disputed, and the debtor’s liability for the debt cannot be established, the debt collector should cease chasing the debt. If a debt collector continues to pursue a debt despite liability being genuinely disputed, such conduct may amount to harassment and coercion in contravention of Section 50 of the Australian Consumer Law.

What happens if you don’t respond to a debt collector?

If you simply ignore a debt collector, the debtor may not pursue the matter – or they may commence court proceedings against you. Once proceedings are commenced, in most circumstances the debtor will insist upon payment of their legal costs incurred in relation to the commencement of proceedings (or otherwise seek that the court make a costs order against you).

For this reason, it is always best to engage early with a debt collector. If you receive a notice that you are being taken to court, whether by the service of a statement of claim or a letter, it is best to get legal advice as soon as possible regarding the strength of the claim and any defences available to you.